It's easy to be a Yankees fan. It's easy to love something, that even at its worst, is only a few years away from winning a World Series. Seriously, I don't hate Yankees fans, so much as I simply just don't understand them. To love something that is so obviously perfect is easy. But to love something that is flawed, that is the test of true love. It's easy to say you love something that's perfect, I mean, everybody else, or at least, most people can see why you love it. To love Casablanca or Citizen Kane is easy. Most people, most sane people who give any damn about movies will agree that those movies are practically unquestioned masterpieces. However, if you say that your favorite film is They Live, well, then there could be some argument. You'd have to truly defend your love for the film. Which brings me back to the Yankees. If something never lets you down, can never be argued as anything less than good, well, then how can you truly say you love it. If you've never had that love tested, how then could you say that you truly do indeed 'love' something.
What follows is a list of the TMS Team's favorite 'shitty' movies. Some we love for more ironic reasons, some because we genuinely love them. And even those we love for their utter terribleness, well, even in those cases you could argue that we do indeed truly love them. Because there's something so endearing about 'failure'. - Chad & Max
One of my favorite shitty movies is the classic Showgirls. Released in 1995, I must have caught it on late night Cinemax during the days when I was too young to watch movies as sexually charged as this. we all watched it for the same reason: we watched to see Jessie Spano's tits. If you have another reason, you're lying. What I actually saw was seedy Las Vegas, bad dancing with even worse costumes, and alarmingly violent sex scenes. Why is Jessie so rough on the Mayor of Portland's dick? Nevertheless, Nomi Malone was badass and if I ever decided to become a Las Vegas dancer, I wanted to be just like her. If you haven't seen this movie, it's worth it, just don't watch it with your parents. -Stacey Renberg
Another wonderfully shitty movie I adore and watched just the night is Batman and Robin. Considered Empire Online's worst movie of all time, we all went to the movies with our families in 1997 to witness the Bat nipples. I already know what I'm going to say to Joel Schumacher if I ever meet him and its, "Thank you for taking a giant dump on the Batman series. The world really appreciates it." Warner Bros didn't like the darkness of Tim Burton's world, so the only solution was to create a Gotham with Battlefield Earth camera angles, neon thrown up all over the underbelly of Gotham, and lastly, an ass shot for Batman, Robin, and Batgirl. Alfred was dying not because of MacGregor's Syndrome, but because he couldn't bear seeing Batman and Robin attend jungle themed charity events. The only good thing to come of this movie is all the ice related puns from the Governator himself. Stay cool, bird boy! -Stacey Renberg
Most of the terrible films I loved when I was a kid haven’t held up particularly well, or not at all for that matter, but Street Fighter is different. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a resoundingly awful movie, just as bad as Mortal Kombat or Home Alone 3 and almost as bad as Three Ninjas High Noon at Mega Mountain, but the difference is that I cringe when I watch those films. I still enjoy Street Fighter for all of its grand absurdity and oddly charming stupidity. Anybody who’s seen Jean Claude-Van Damme’s great performance in JCVD knows that the man really can act under the right conditions. These are not the right conditions at all. And yet, Van Damme still manages to deliver what is perhaps my favorite motivational speech of all time in a scene that amuses and excites me equally every time I watch it.
The best performance in the movie is undoubtedly the work of Raul Julia, a terrific character actor who, sadly, died two months before Street Fighter’s release at the age of 54. He hams it up beautifully as Bison, the film’s antagonist, so much so that the film is, against all odds, a pretty fitting tribute to his talent, proving that he could take any role, no matter how brilliant or stupid it might be, and make it wholly, and impressively, his own. Let’s just say that he makes a much bigger impression than Australian singer/songwriter Kylie Minogue, who is also in the film for some reason. The fact that this is still one of the better video game movies ever made (and that Mortal Kombat also is, for that matter) is actually kind of distressing, but I love it regardless. -Max Castleman
This entry is, for all intents and purposes, a stand-in for Arnold Schwarzenegger's entire filmography. I know, with the exception of the original Terminator (and perhaps T2, though I don’t like it nearly as much), that Schwarzenegger's never appeared in a film that can technically be classified as “good,” at least not in the strictest usage of the term, but ever since I was a child I’ve been a huge fan of the man’s work, and my love for his films has not diminished in the least over the years. He’s one of the few actors whose presence alone will make me seek out a film, which makes sense when you consider that he’s usually the only good thing about the movies he’s in. I think the difference with Schwarzenegger is that it feels like he’s in on the joke. When I watch one of his films it feels like I’m laughing with him, not at him, that he, like his audience, really is there just to have some fun, and that attitude just makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable than standard action fare. Bruce Willis also pulled off that winking self-consciousness beautifully in the original Die Hard trilogy, but for my money nobody does it better than Arnold.
I chose Commando for this list because it is probably my favorite film of his, what with its fantastically dumb one-liners and cartoonishly brutal violence. It’s also probably the first film of his I saw, or at least the first one I can remember seeing. Schwarzenegger's comeback in 2013 wasn’t exactly smooth sailing, but he did give us one instant classic in Escape Plan, and I’m sure we’ll get another one soon enough. I can’t wait. - Max Castleman
Remember when I said that Jean-Claude Van Damme’s speech from Street Fighter was perhaps my favorite motivational speech of all time? That “perhaps” is there because of Rocky IV. At this point it’s kind of weird to think back and remember that the original Rocky was not only critically acclaimed enough to win Best Picture at the 1976 Oscars, where it (somewhat absurdly in my mind) beat All the President’s Men and Taxi Driver, but that at the time Stallone was heralded as one of the finest actors of his generation, something akin to a new Brando. Now that Stallone has become a joke (which happened pretty quickly upon reflection) and the Rocky franchise has long fallen from its briefly exalted heights it seems that all people do is make fun of the series, myself included. That being said, I still love it for the most part. Sure, Rocky II is basically just a retread of Rocky with a more predictable ending and Rocky V is absolutely unwatchable, but Rocky III is good dumb fun and Rocky Balboa, while it didn’t reach anything approaching the level of the first film, was a surprisingly solid final chapter.
However, my favorite entry in the series is easily Rocky IV. It is as pure a distillation of the cheesiness and weird gloriousness of 80s action films as you are likely to find. The soundtrack alone is hilarious, but it’s much better when combined with footage of Sly training to take on Ivan “I must break you” Drago, the seemingly unstoppable Russian boxer who killed Rocky’s mentor, Apollo Creed, in the ring. Rocky IV was made in the midst of the Cold War, and Stallone’s goal was to make an anti-war film, as evidenced by the speech which closes the film, which features Rocky belting out the immortal line “If I can change, and you can change, then everyone can change!” to a crowd of Russian and American spectators, all of whom subsequently give him a standing ovation. It seems odd that Stallone chose to express his message of open mindedness and empathy by having Rocky beat the hell out of a Russian and then pull a completely unjustified motivational speech out of his ass, but it’s choices like that which make Rocky IV so memorable. I haven’t even mentioned Paulie’s robot, which I’m not going to waste my time trying to explain. Words alone cannot sum up the wonder of Paulie’s robot. It’s one of those things that simply must be experienced. - Max Castleman
I know you’ve heard the character type “Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” Some movie critic coined it to describe a female character that is basically used to lead a man who hasn’t quite earned leading man status out of some personal disaster. Well, I never liked Kristin Dunst before Elizabethtown, but I still think she and the movie as a whole got a terrible wrap.
Elizabethtown is my favorite movie ever made. Like, to the extent I have two copies so I always have a backup. Nora Ephron helped to create the Rom-Com monster in me, but Cameron Crowe gave that monster some needed depth, found in the verses within his films. Maybe he creates a movie’s soundtrack before he actually gets around to working on the movie, but that’s what makes this movie. Each major moment is backed by the perfect gut wrenching, enlightening, and dare I say poignant song. And I feel like every song, and therefore every moment in the movie, has shaped the way I see life and love and family.
I could go scene by scene and describe why I love it and why it's captivating, because trust me I've forced several unlucky people into listening to just such a ramble. And while that movie critic might have been right - Dunst's character was used to aid Orlando Bloom's character out of a personal disaster, that's not all this movie is. It's about how inconvenient life can be sometimes. And how maybe moving forward can be found in the right mixtape. And hey, I appreciate that. -Lindsey Bluher
I can watch this movie over and over and over again and still, after dozens of times it never gets old. It is Joe Dante in full camp. And it is Tom Hanks in the midst of his 80's goofiness. The tale of a group of wacky neighbors who suspect that their newest additions to the neighborhood are killers.
I've never lived in the suburbs, but in my head this is what it would be like if I did, and though I know that's probably not true, the idea of it kinda makes me want to live in the suburbs, despite the possibility of my untimely murder. Also, a weird Corey Feldman looking kid would live next door, obviously. -Chad Foltz
Okay, I'll admit it. When I first saw this movie, I thought it was great. But to be fair, I was young, and most people at the time still thought that M. Night Shymalan was a great filmmaker. I mean, he was the new Spielberg, right? Well, no, I guess he wasn't. But we know that now. None the less, I still like this movie, although I do find it to be incredibly stupid in several sections and, well, the dialogue seems to of been written by some sort of alien. But, the cinematography, done by the great Roger Deakins, for me, is one of the main reasons why I do TRULY love this movie. Also, once you realize that it's stupid, the ridiculousness of this movie is kind of entertaining. Side note: If you want to read Dylan's take on the film, you can! Right here on Projection List. -Chad Foltz
Okay, I know this movie is actually rather popular, and to my surprise was actually pretty well received by critics at the time of its release, I still put it on here, because I know enough people who mock this movie to no end. And I get it. I mean, I really do. It's goofy and cheesy and a tad overtly sentimental...Okay, it's INCREDIBLY sentimental. But, you know what, I'm a fan of sentimentality sometimes. I've watched Forrest Gump well over a dozen times, and the ending still gets to me. I make it a habit to watch It's a Wonderful Life every Christmas. Good Will Hunting ranks among my favorite films. I'm alright with sentimentality, when it's done right. When it actually, legitimately, strikes an emotional cord with me. And this movie does. There are a lot of sports movies out there that have now tired this formula of the underdog, and many of them are god awful. And really, there aren't many great sports movies outside of boxing out there. Not to say this is a 'great movie' or anything. At least to the standard of other 'great movies'. I don't think anybody would confuse this for On the Waterfront...Or maybe, in that case, they might.
Look, I'm not saying it's a 'great movie'. It's not. But I love it, because it gets right what I love about sports, and it gets right what I love about football. You might remember a former post of mine regarding a Missouri linebacker, that'll explain to you my love of football better than I can now. But, with this movie, every time I put it on, and every time I hear the music I'm reminded of Autumn afternoons watching football on T.V. with my brothers, my sister, and my father. And then afterwards, my younger brother and I going out into the yard with a football, and running into each other in the cold until our knuckles were red with cold and covered in blood and dirt. And for me, that's enough. -Chad Foltz
When you're a kid, you have no concept of comparative analysis. Your juice box is fucking awesome, even though it is nowhere near as delicious as fresh squeezed OJ, because you've never tasted fresh squeezed OJ. It is with that mindset that I can share that my absolute favorite movie for a huge chunk of my childhood was The Monster Squad.
Remembered, if at all, today for being a sort of Goonies knock-off, the film is an ode to the classic Universal Monsters, set in an 80s teen flick. *Adopts Stefan from SNL voice* This movie has everything: Wayne from the Wonder Years, a montage set to the most 80s song of all time (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksdZHwt8K2Q), Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite turning into a werewolf, everything.
It also has the iconic line "Wolfman's got nards." For all you #millennials out there, nards at one point meant testicles. They also refer to his "wolf dork."
Also, when watching it at 30 years old, my wife cried at the ending -Brian Salvatore
When I was in elementary and middle school, I watched HBO basically every day for 3-6 hours. This is pre-HBO packages - it was one channel, and it couldn't play anything R-rated before 8pm, so my parents let me watch it, mostly unsupervised. Because of that, I watched Just One of the Guys approximately 100 times and, therefore, saw Joyce Hyser's boobs approximately 100 times before I saw any girl's in person.
This is your classic "women get less respect than men" comedy, with a beautiful 18-year old girl somehow posing as a beautiful 18-year old boy at a school across town to win an essay writing contest. The main supporting cast are her college-aged boyfriend, who is maybe one of cinema's biggest douchebags, and her little brother, who takes the prize for "best hornball ever presented on screen."
The classic lines in this are plentiful, but the best has to be the prom-night revelation: "It's ok, he has tits." There is shockingly little homophobia in the movie, but there is enough sexism to go around the sun twice. -Brian Salvatore
One of my favorite things to do, both as a 12 year old and a 32 year old, is go to the movies. I love being in a darkened theater with a soda, some Snocaps, and being just a little too chilly because of the amped up air conditioning. When I was younger, going to the movies was something I did at least once a week in the summertime. Because of the sheer lack of movies appropriate for a kid at that time, I would see a lot of movies 2 or 3 times in theaters, going with different friends out of sheer boredom.
It is because of that, plus an inexplicable magnetism that pulled me in, I saw The Shadow thrice in theaters in the summer of 1994.
The Shadow is not a good superhero film, not a good romance, not a funny movie, not really exciting, nor does it have great acting performances. But for some reason, the neo-noir sensibility, the pairing of Alec Baldwin and Peter Boyle, and the moody fog that seemed to be everywhere really appealed to me. I loved this movie so much that I attempted to see it a fourth time, but it had already left theaters.
Of course, seeing it on TV years later revealed that this was, essentially, a dumpster fire full of small pox blankets filmed and released in the summer blockbuster season, but I can still get nostalgic for the Bergenfield theater, wearing my "Class of '94" sixth grade t-shirt and jorts, just watching the shit out of this piece of shit. -Brian Salvatore